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A Conversation with the Black Women Transforming WA Politics



Thank you to all who attended our Inspiring Women Lead! event this past Thursday, March 18th.

We are so grateful to Senator T'wina Nobles and Representatives April Berg, Debra Entenman, and Jamila Taylor for joining Commission Chair Michelle Merriweather in conversation about their personal leadership journeys, current legislative priorities, and inspiration for women, particularly those who seek to create change. 

In November 2020, Black women tripled their representation in Washington State Legislature with the election of six Black women legislators. In a statehouse that is still predominantly white and male, these are significant gains.

As Alexis Turla, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Tammy J. Morales, said in a statement for Crosscut, "I can say that when just having one Black person there, or two, many times that voice was dismissed or tokenized. But having a significant number of Black women from multiple counties, from all those various perspectives, speaking with authenticity about how this impacts Black people and people of color in various counties in the state — that is going to be harder to dismiss." 

The women include Representatives Melanie Morgan and Debra Entenman, who were incumbents, and April Berg, Kirsten Harris-Talley, and Jamila Taylor, three freshmen legislators. Senator T'wina Nobles was elected to the state Senate — the first Black senator since 2010. Washington State also elected Representative Marilyn Strickland as its first Black member of Congress. Rep. Strickland is also the first Korean American woman elected to Congress from Washington. 

Gloria Butler, a 78-year-old Black senator in Georgia State Senate, said to The 19th News, "When you've got a room full of Black women, then you've got something to reckon' with... They have a burning desire to make a difference. That's a force. And you can make anything happen when you get those kind of women in one room." 


Rewatch the Panel


For those who missed it, here is a recording of the event: 


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